Thursday, November 15, 2018

Teaching Geoethics
as a Form of Eco-political Resistance

Francesc Bellaubi
(PhD Natural Sciences, IAPG member)

Francesc Bellaubi

From the outside, however, it seems that everything is in order. The pupils make gestures as if they were pupils seen by the teachers. They wear the proper uniforms, stand in line according to school regulations, submit to a ritual. The main effect of education through castigation is that people “dance” to the ritual and do it with a certain degree of skill. In this way an old truth confirms itself – the one who wants to achieve too much does not achieve anything. (Tischner, 2005).

In the words of the Iranian-American philosopher S. H. Nasr (1997) "the environmental crisis is fundamentally a crisis of values." Environmental sustainability cannot be widely achieved in the absence of social justice (Goodwin, 2003). Equity and equality that forge the concept of justice as fairness (Rawls, 1971) are not value-neutral (Goodwin, 2003) and are deeply rooted in the political and economic ideologies of the status quo. 

Environmental sustainability goes hand to hand with human rights as both point out the current political and economic status quo as the main cause for existing inequity and inequality in the human-human/human-nature(1) relationships. Historically, "green-environmental" movements and human rights activism have failed in finding a common pathAlthough under an anthropocentric vision, progress against the deeper structures of oppression and environmental exploitation could only be made when the movements recognized their connections (Cone, cited in Spencer, 2008).

Achieving solutions must tackle environmental literacy not only in achieving better educated citizens, private sector entrepreneurs, and politicians in specific topics but also in revisiting values and norms in politically contested decision making (Goodwin, 2003) for ecological justice(2)

A values-based pedagogic approach

The current political and economic status quo is sustained by the existing educational paradigm (Robinson, n.d.) and as long as the current Technopoly (Postman, 1993) development paradigm keeps seeing nature as a resource to exploit, human rights inequities will remain. Current education systems enhance the belief technology is the solution to environmental-human challenges regardless of the values behind technological development. However, even a change in production technology will not be sufficient to achieve sustainability (Daly, 1987).

On the other hand, transparency accountability and participation that are considered key in enhancing governance fail short in addressing inequity issues. Instead, credibility is to be considered one of the most important soft skills in the generations to come (Bellaubi and Pahl-Wostl, 2017).

The anthropocene pushes for a further understanding of values-oriented solutions. Therefore, as Martin Luther King (1967) said, we must call for "a radical revolution of values" shifting from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘nature-oriented’ society.

"What is the added-created value of a pedagogy of geoethics as a form of political resistance for ecological justice challenging the current Technopoly paradigm?"

Education plays a key role in pointing out paradigm failures and paving the way for change (Dewey, 2001). In his turn, Freire (1970) points out pedagogy as being a clear political and social purpose liberating the oppressed. Furthermore, Postman (1993) defines teaching as a subversive activity. 

The term pedagogy encompasses the act of teaching to learn to think as a self-liberating and consciousness process based on the concept of critical pedagogy. Pedagogy as an action contributes to sustainable learning establishing communities of practices (Pahl-Wostl et al., 2007) where, if degrees of ecological justice are achieved, need to be seen within the influences played by ecological movements and communities of practice. The concept of geoethics refers to the "... research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the geosphere" (Peppoloni and Di Capua, 2015).

The term political resistance is understood as the hope brought into the pedagogic process as a created value (Makiguchi, cited in Kumagai, 2000) considering not only the formal education teacher-student relationship but also the accompanying relationships (advice and extension) outside the formal education (e.g. in communities of practice), as a struggle for faithfulness/credible relations (Human-Nature). This faithfulness/credible relation is reached when the Human takes full consciousness of Nature as being part of it(3), in a sense of belonging one to another. Therefore, pedagogy has a moral and humanistic sense (Tolstoy, cited in Yegorov 1999). However, values are rooted in different beliefs and ideologies(4) that interact with history-story territorial identities as human-nature relationship constructs, and manifested through cultural and folkloric expressions in the duality power-space over time (territories as spaces of power but also the power of the space(5)

The added-created value of pedagogy

Exploring the value-creating pedagogy of geoethics to challenge the Technopoly paradigm means to take into consideration the created cultural capital as an individual factor and also that of solidarity as a social variable that makes individuals part of a community in the sense of voluntary engagement towards the Others (humans and non-humans or Nature). Another concept of importance is social cohesion related to the social gains/cost in the relationships with the Others.

The cultural capital as a power to influence change is not only based on knowledge and capacities that largely have failed in addressing behavioral change but on attitude that defines credibility levels. Attitude is key in boosting credibility working in two complementary directions: integrity and ethics that shape our moral judgments between what we believe and how we behave. There is extensive research-advocacy on integrity issues but more needs to be done on ethics. In this sense, game theory and, specifically, understanding ecological moral dilemmas through agent based modelling (ABM) can help us to improve how teaching geoethics influences moral judgment. 

In its turn, solidarity has been largely forgotten in the discussion about ethics. Rather than a concept or theory, solidarity remains an idea that, in contrast to a theory or concept, does not need justification but justifies itself (Tischner, 2005). Tischner talks about the ethics of solidarity as the ethics of the conscience but this idea does not need to be kept in the individual sphere but be enlarged as a social-natural phenomenon bounded to politics, an ethics of social conscience.


Bellaubi F. and Pahl-Wostl C. (2017). Corruption risks, management practices, and performance in water service delivery in Kenya and Ghana: an agent-based model. Ecology and Society, 22(2), 6.

Daly H.E. (1987). The Economic Growth Debate: What Some Economists Have Learned But Many Have Not. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 14, 323-336.

Dewey J. (2001). Education and social change. In F. Schultz (Ed.), SOURCES: Notable selections in education (3rd ed.) (pp. 333-341). New York: McGraw Hill Dushkin.

Freire P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.

Goodwin N.R. (2003). International Society for Ecological Economics. Internet Encyclopaedia of Ecological Economics Equity, February 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2018 from

King Jr M.L. (1967). Text of speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Vietnam War. Retrieved 15 July 2018 from

Kortetmäki T. (2017). Justice in and to Nature: An Application of the Broad Framework of Environmental and Ecological Justice. Academic dissertation, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Kumagai K. (2000). Value-creating pedagogy and Japanese education in the modern era, In: Ideas and influence of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Special issue of The Journal of Oriental Studies, (10, pp. 29-45). Tokyo, The Institute of Oriental Philosophy.

Levit G.S. (2000). Biosphere and the Noosphere Theories of V.I. Vernadsky and P. Teilhard De Chardin: A Methodological Essay. Academe Internationale D'histoire Des Sciences, 50(144), 160-177.

Nasr S.H. (1997). Man and nature. Chicago: ABC International Group, Inc.

Pahl-Wostl C. et al. (2007). The importance of social learning and culture for sustainable water management, Ecological Economics. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.08.007.

Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2015). The Meaning of Geoethics. In: M. Wyss and S. Peppoloni (Eds.), Geoethics: Ethical Challenges and Case Studies in Earth Science. Waltham, MA, USA: Elsevier, pp. 3–14. ISBN 978-0-12-799935-7.

Postman N. (1993). Technopoly the surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

Rawls J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. USA: Harvard University Press.

Robinson K. (n.d.). Retrieved 05 June 2018 from :

Spencer M.L. (2008). Environmental Racism and Black Theology: James H. Cone Instructs Us on Whiteness. 5 U. St. Thomas L.J. pp. 288-311.

Tàbara J.D. and Pahl-Wostl C. (2007). Sustainability learning in natural resource use and management. Ecology and Society, 12(2), 3. Retrieved 15 May 2018 from

Tischner J. (2005). Selected by Dobrosław Kot from Etyka solidarności [The Ethics of Solidarity], Kraków.

Yegorov, S. F. (1999). Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). Prospects: The quarterly review of comparative education, XXIV(3/4), 647–60.

Žižek, S. (1989). The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso.


(1): In the sense non-human nature.
(2): The author suggests the use of ecological justice (Naess, cited in Kortetmäki, 2017).
(3)Here it would be interesting to revisit the concept of noosphere of V.I.Vernadsky and P. Teilhard de Chardin (Levit, 2000).
(4): Ideology is understood as an imaginary of spiritual ideas that unfold in an array of multiple values in the perception of the World exercising a political influences on historic territorial identities as power of spaces and spaces of power (author, based on Žižek, 1989).
(5): Culture can be understood as a set of perceptual abilities, norms, values and frames, which are typical modes of acting that characterize specific groups and that are enacted in social practices. Tàbara and Pahl-Wostl (2007) defined the conceptual and methodological approach of cultural framework analysis as a coherent system of reference elements relative to the way of recognizing, rationalizing, evaluating and prescribing given phenomena of social (or socio-environmental) reality in such a way that they become significant and memorable for the different social actors at stake.

Other articles published in the IAPG Blog:

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Geoethics at the
Earth System Governance Conference 2018

(by Martin Bohle, IAPG Board of Experts)

The Earth System Governance project is a ten-year-old global project and network of mainly and social and political scientists; interfaces of their interests with geoethics are many. Their annual gathering, open to third parties, took place in Utrecht (5-8 November) in the Netherlands. About 400 people gathered there, among them Martin Bohle (IAPG Board of Experts), who  together with Cornelia E. Nauen (speaker, Mundus Maris) and Eduardo Marone (IAPG-Brazil coordinator) made a contribution  to a panel on "ocean governance". Their paper “Not out of the blue: Ethics to Intersect Civic Participation and Formal Guidance” (below the link to download slides) draws also on geoethics. They argue that ethical frameworks (such as geoethics), civic participation and formalized guidance are features of socio-ecological systems, which support each other and that, togeher are essential for the governability of building the human niche.

The ESG2018 contribution borrows concepts from various lines of scholarly inquiry. To introduce them: the concept ‘socio-ecological systems’ refers to the combination of natural process, technological artefacts and human practices (e.g. techno-commercial operations) that set the environments in which people live. Examples are multiple, such as urban areas or small-scale fishery or seabed mining; the essay uses the latter two examples. The notion ‘niche building’ summarizes the physical and mental processes by which people shape technological artifacts, their operational practices as well how these artefacts intersect natural environments. The notion ‘governability’ refers to features that determine how governance structures may function; for example, using normative guidance and participation of people (civic participation). The former may take, for example, the form of an ethical framework, or formalized guidance for people’s practices. Likewise, civic participation tales various forms. The notion ‘blue economy’ is a term on the political agenda to label the development of ‘socio-ecological systems’ in the marine environment, essentially going well beyond fishing and shipping. The ‘blue’ techno-commercial operations in the marine environment, for which small-scale fisheries and seabed mining are examples of socio-ecological systems that are used in this essay, are embedded into global supply-chains and are subject to multi-level regulation/management. These features make them ‘complex-adaptive’ (or ‘wicked’). Hence, agents in these systems face a ‘wicked game’. People (or human agent, stakeholder) and institutions (or governments, governance arrangements) shape complex-adaptive socio-ecological systems through their practices on how to design production systems and consumption patterns, including justification of the related design choices. People act (or react) being an intrinsic part of these systems and patterns. Yet, people (and institutions) also do experience the same systems and patterns as constraining them, including constraints which they may perceive as counter-intuitive. Hence when shaping the ‘human niche’, people and institutions are entangled in a process on how to make sense of their own activities and provide, by the sense-making process, an essential feedback loop within the ‘human niche’. It is within the sense-making that geoethics has its essential role.

Download slides:

ESG 2018 website:


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Monday, November 12, 2018

IAPG has become
an Observer Organization of the CFES

CFES - Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences ( is an umbrella organization that represents a federation of Earth Science societies and associations across Canada. CFES represents about 15000 Earth scientists. Established in 2006 as the successor to the Canadian Geoscience Council, CFES brings together 13 organizations of Earth scientists in industry, government and academia. CFES advocates on behalf of the Canadian Earth Science community with government, the public, and the international Earth Science community.​

CFES cooperates with several observer organizations and other relevant Canadian non-member organizations on issues of public education and professional registration. CFES represents its members internationally as a member of the International Union of Geosciences (IUGS) and UNESCO.​

Jan Boon (IAPG-Canada co-coordinator) represents the IAPG in the CFES Council Meetings.


Read more about IAPG affiliations, agreements, and partnerships:

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Debate: The growth in the battery industry hits raw material shortage

(by Pekka Nurmi, Head of Scientific Research, Geological Survey of Finland)

The orginal version of this article (in Finnish) was published at:

Translation in English by Stephen Fraser, University of Queensland)

Pekka Nurmi is member of the IAPG Task Group on Responsible Mining:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

"The importance of energy shortage is widely understood, but not its dependence on raw materials and the necessity of mining activity as a catalyst for change."

Batteries can not be produced quickly enough in Finland or elsewhere in Europe to meet industry needs, writes Pekka Nurmi.

Transport accounts for more than 20% of global carbon emissions, so reducing its emissions is one of the most effective ways to curb climate change. The tightening of regulation and, on the other hand, the opportunities created by electrification have already fueled the automotive industry, which has announced massive investment in the development and production of electric cars. The development is accelerating the rapidly improving efficiency of batteries and the falling price.

In addition to passenger cars and consumer electronics, battery technology is rapidly expanding in heavy traffic, non-road vehicles and personal mobility. Batteries are needed for energy storage and power consumption management for power grids.

Electrification requires huge investments in the battery industry. The number of large-scale factories is projected to increase tenfold over the next 15 years, and production capacity growth will continue to be strong at least until mid-century. Battery production is strongly focussed on China, the rest of the Far East and the United States.

Maintaining Europe's technological leadership and competitiveness would, however, require significant battery manufacturing here as well. A dozen battery stations are already planned, and the first are starting their production in Poland and Hungary.

Batteries in battery technology can not be realized without increasing the production of required metals and minerals. Competition in raw materials is tightening up, and it is uncertain whether future raw materials can be freely purchased from the world market.

On the contrary, there is a risk that the production and further processing of important metals will focus on a few countries and a few actors, as has been the case for rare earth metals. China manages the raw material market and component production utilizing these metals. The battery industry must ensure the availability of raw materials through strategic investments and supply contracts.

An effective battery can not be manufactured without cobalt and lithium. The aim has been to reduce the use of cobalt, but still every 5 to 10 kilograms of electric cars. 60 percent of the production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and over half of the further processing is made in China. The battery industry will need cobalt many times compared to the current one. The reserves of lithium are divided into several countries, but production needs to be intensified.

The need for nickel and copper will also increase. Each electric car has 80 kilograms of copper and is also needed to build a charging infrastructure.

Europe has a strong manufacturing industry, technological know-how, and also raw materials for batteries, but their reserves and potential are poorly known. The European Commission has recently stated that the supply of raw materials for the battery industry is a risk that needs to be addressed quickly.

European companies do not work fast enough to secure access to raw materials from third countries, and Member States are not investing enough in research into their raw material resources. There is not enough processing and processing capacity in Europe as well.

Finland has a good opportunity to play a significant role in the European battery industry and to create billion businesses in the industry. Finland is the only EU country with production or significant potential in raw materials for all batteries. We have processing capacities, further processing and technological know-how from mining to recycling.

However, increasing the production of battery metals would require considerable investment in exploring their potential and reserves, as well as more streamlined licensing processes, mining investments and local people's approval. Now many search projects and mining projects are moving too slowly or even blocking.

The importance of energy turbidity is widely understood, but not its dependence on raw materials and the necessity of mining operations to enabling change. Batteries can not be produced quickly enough in Finland or elsewhere in Europe to meet industry needs.


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Friday, November 2, 2018

3rd Training Course on Ocean Governance, Marine Sciences, and Geoethics

The Training Course is organized by the IOI - International Ocean Institute, Training Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, and it will take place at the Universidad del Atlántico Barranquilla (Colombia), from 21 January to 15 February 2019.

IAPG is partner of the Training Course. Eduardo Marone (IAPG-Brazil Coordinator) is coordinator of the module on Geoethics.


Download the poster:

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mosi-oa-Tunya Declaration
on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, Quarrying and Development

ASM18 delegates adopt 'Mosi-oa-Tunya Declaration'.

Five-hundred and forty-seven delegates, representing 72 nations assembled in Livingstone, Zambia between the 11-13 September, 2018 for the International Conference on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and Quarrying (ASM18) to chart a vision for sustainable development. 

ASM18 was the largest international gathering of artisanal and small-scale miners and quarry workers ever assembled. An historic outcome of ASM18 was the adoption of the ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya Declaration,’ the first declaration of its kind in over a decade. The 'Mosi' Declaration uses the traditional name of Victoria Falls, located adjacent to the conference venue and builds on earlier ASM conference declarations from Harare (1993), Washington (1996), and Yaoundé (2002).

Read the Mosi-oa-Tunya Declaration:

- English version:

- French version:

- Spanish version:

- Portuguese:

ASM18 was an initiative of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, organised by the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, European Union, United Nations Development Programme, and The Government of Zambia, with the support of The World Bank, The African Union, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, and German Development Cooperation. A range of specialised mining institutions of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific provided technical support, including the African Minerals Development Centre, the African Minerals and Geosciences Centre and the Pacific Community.


IAPG White Paper on Responsible Mining:

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Geoethics at the EGU 2019

Vienna, 7-12 April 2019

IAPG is working on a great programme on geoethics at the EGU General Assembly 2019. The proposal for 2 sessions and 1 short course have been submitted. Those proposals are co-sponsored by IAPG and AGI - American Geosciences Institute, EFG - European Federation of Geologists, IOI-TC-LAC - International Ocean Institute Training Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Here below the list of sessions and short course. Click on links for the description of each event.

The abstract submission deadline for the 2 sessions is 10 January 2019, 13:00 CET.

Session EOS5.2
"Geoethics: ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, communication, research and practice"
(convenership: Silvia Peppoloni, Martin Bohle, Giuseppe Di Capua, Christopher M. Keane, Jonathan Rizzi)
The call for abstracts is open:

Session ITS2.1/EOS5.1/ERE4.5/HS1.2.14
"Geoethics and geoscientists' responsibility towards society: doing the right thing to develop resources for future generations"
(convenership: Giuseppe Di Capua, Nic Bilham, Jan Boon, Victor Correia, Eduardo Marone)
This session is co-sponsored by IAPG and EFG.
The call for abstracts is open:

Short Course: Session SC1.30
"Foundations of Geoethics for Earth, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences"
(convenership: Eduardo Marone, Jan Boon, Giuseppe Di Capua, Silvia Peppoloni)
The short course is co-sponsored by IAPG and IOI-TC-LAC.
Course description:


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

International Geoethics Day 2018

18 October 2018

Download the leaflet of the International Geoethics Day 2018 containing the incipit of the sentence: "geoethics is..."

Please, complete the sentence with one word, the word that you feel more appropriate, print the leaflet and take a picture of you with the leaflet in your hands well in evidence.

Finally, during the day of 18 October, post the picture on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and use the hashtag: #geoethicsday2018

Join us on 18 October 2018!

Download the lefleat of the International Geoethics Day 2018 (docx file):

International Geoethics Day website:


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First Nigeria Geoethics Conference (NGC1)

Integrating Geoethics into the Extractive Industry Governance
18-19 October 2018
Rivers State University Auditorium
Port Harcourt (Nigeria)

The Nigerian Section of the IAPG organizes its first national conference to celebrate the International Geoethics Day 2018 and to seek avenues of integrating geoethics into working practices and providing opportunities for networking and promoting the application of Geoethics for sustainable development.

Sub themes of the conference:
– Environmental and Social Responsibility.
– Utilizing citizen science as a new paradigm for tackling security challenges.
– Experiences, approach and concepts in geoscience education.
– Georisk management for safer and more resilient society.
– Making geoethics a central issue in the conduct of scientist.

NGC1 is organized by Arinze Harrison Ikwumelezeh (IAPG-Nigeria Coordinator)

Download the NGC1 programme (pdf file):

IAPG-Nigeria website:


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Friday, October 12, 2018

IAPG at the GfGD Annual Conference

6th GfGD - Geology for Global Development Annual Conference
Water and Sustainable Development
2 November 2018
hosted by the Geological Society of London

Burlington House
London (United Kingdom)

Understanding, managing and protecting freshwater and marine water resources is critical to the delivery of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., water and sanitation, healthy oceans, zero hunger, good health, gender equality, energy, industry, and biodiversity). Increasing urbanisation, industrialisation, and climate change are increasing pressure on water supplies and reducing water quality.
This conference, organised by the GfGD - Geology for Global Development, will explore the role of geoscientists in managing conflicting demands for diverse water resources, ensuring that the needs of the poorest are met while maintaining healthy ecosystems.
The conference will include an introduction to the International Association for Promoting Geoethics, given by Nic Bilham (IAPG Continental Coordinator for Europe).

IAPG and GfGD have a Memorandum of Agreement from May 2017.

Read more:
Register here:


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Friday, October 5, 2018

Geoethics as a solution to tremors in Abuja and other geohazards

Arinze Harrison Ikwumelezeh
(Coordinator of IAPG-Nigeria)

Arinze Harrison Ikwumelezeh
On 18 October 2018, the world shall join the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), to celebrate the International Geoethics Day. This initiative was born in 2017 with the aim to raise the awareness of the geoscience community and society as a whole about the importance of geoethics.

As affirmed by Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG Secretary General) "...The International Geoethics Day falls into the Earth Science Week and will be the occasion to strongly reaffirm the geoethical values..." in which the world is presently realizing. Geoethics holds the key to not only ensure that we maintain a sound biodiversity balance, but also to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the case of Nigeria, the recent tremors in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) leaves no one in doubt that we have come to the place where we must become responsible in our geological activities and other issues pertaining to environmental governance.

According to media reports, tremors that lasted for three days in Mpape and some parts of Maitama district in Abuja left not only residents, but also the whole country, apprehensive that an earthquake was about to occur.
The residents of the affected areas were alarmed by the sudden ground shakings, which started on 5 September and occurred till 8 September, and they were seen moving to other places in the city for the fear of losing their lives.

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dispelled fears of an earthquake stating that even though an "abnormal" occurrence, the area was not in a seismic zone. Nevertheless, the government agency added that the incident was likely caused by stress in underground rocks resulting from human activities which included rock blasting and mining.

According to the statement by FEMA: "Whilst appreciating the call from the public, the FCT emergency management agency (FEMA) wish to make the following statements; That the possible cause of the earth shaking might be as a result of earth tremor. That it is a sign of seismic movement within the earth. This is caused by sudden break along a fault line which results in sudden release of energy that makes the ground to shake. It is caused by stress in underground rocks and may be due to rock blasting and mining activities in an area."
This, therefore, is why Nigeria as a developing country must now review all its geoscientific sectors with a view to ensuring that tremors in Abuja and others that have happened in other states before now – like in Kaduna State in 2016 – would not occur again. We are very much aware of the fact that we do not have the material resources and psychological preparedness to face natural phenomena (and potential disasters) of significant magnitude.

Earth sciences or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. It is the branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the earth and its atmosphere, the study of our planet’s physical characteristics, from earthquakes to raindrops, from floods to fossils. Earth sciences include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of the Earth's interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Typically, Earth scientists use tools from geography, chronology, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth works and evolves. Earth sciences affect our everyday lives. For example, meteorologists study the weather and watch for dangerous storms. Hydrologists study water and warn of floods. Seismologists study earthquakes and try to predict where they will strike. Geologists study rocks and help to locate useful minerals. Earth scientists mainly work "in the field"—climbing mountains, exploring the seabed, crawling through caves, or wading in swamps. They measure and collect samples (such as rocks or river water), then they record their findings on charts and maps.

Interestingly, when the geo-resources are exploited, these geoscientists must inculcate a fresh Earth-centric consciousness of responsibility for their direct and indirect activities to be sustainable, leaving a better environment for future generations. This is where geoethics come in.

Ethics is the field of knowledge that deals with the principles that govern how people behave and conduct activities. Ethics is well established as being of relevance to other scientific disciplines (e.g., medical ethics, bioethics). Given the multiple interfaces of geoscience with society, it is appropriate that we all consider our social role and responsibilities. Geoethics, therefore, is the branch of ethics which relates to the interaction of human activity with our physical world in general and with the practice of the Earth sciences in particular.
This is not just a niche area of research, but extends to all geoscientists irrespective of their field (e.g., volcanology, engineering geology, hydrogeology, metamorphic petrology) and employment sector (e.g., industry, academia, public sector). Geoethics provides a framework for us all to reflect on the shared values that underpin our work as geoscientists, and how these values shape our professional actions, and our interactions with colleagues, society and the natural environment.

For us in Nigeria, it will address the problem in the Niger Delta, regarding resource exploitation. It will also address indiscriminate mining in Abuja and other states; and also tree-felling in the Northern parts of the country, which has worsened desertification and seasonal flooding.

This is why the Nigerian section of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) organizes its First National Conferenceon 18-19 October, to celebrate the International Geoethics Day 2018. This is in order to seek avenues of integrating geoethics into working practices and providing opportunities for networking and promoting the application of geoethics for sustainable development.

The main theme of the conference is Integrating Geoethics into the Extractive Industry Governance. Other sub-themes are environmental and social responsibility; Utilizing citizen science as a new paradigm for tackling security challenges and intelligence gathering; Communications, experiences, approaches and concepts in geoscience education; Geo-risk management for safer and more resilient society; Making geoethics a central issue in the conduct of scientists; and Ethical considerations in developing young geoscientists and defining avenues for geoscience in Nigeria.

The event, which will take place at the Rivers State University Auditorium, Faculty of Law, shall have as special guest of honour, His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike of River StateAmong the distinguished speakers there are Hon. Obinna Chidoka, Chairman House Committee on Environment, (chairman) Prof. Blessing Chikezie Didia - Vice chancellor Rivers state University (vice-chairman), Prof. Charles Ofoegbu, Director, Institue of Geosciences and Earth Resources, Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Professor Uraih Lar, Professorial Chair in Geology University of Jos, Dr. H.O Nwankwoala, Senoir lecturer Department of Geology University of Port-Harcourt and Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene, Youth and Environmental Advocacy Centre Port-Harcourt.

There is no doubt that our country needs to lead Africa in this all important sector because it holds the promise to enhance vital developmental sectors like agriculture, mining and natural resources management. Recently, the IAPG and Geoscientists Canada signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) expressing a mutual desire to cooperate on a range of themes in the field of ethics in geoscience with a view to promoting principles of ethics, research integrity, and professional ethical deontology in geoscience activities among their networks. Geoscientists Canada is the national organization of the nine provincial and territorial regulatory bodies that govern Canada’s professional geoscientists and geoscientists in training. Geoscientists Canada coordinates development of high national standards of admissions, competency, practice and mobility to ensure that Canada is served by skilled versatile, reputable and accountable geoscience professionals.

Nigeria needs developmental strides like this in order to prepare its future geoscientists for the challenges ahead. And also to carve a niche for the country in the comity of nations.

As a developing country, our young geoscientists need to make commitments for enduring nation-building. This is why we should embrace the the Geoethical Promise for the Nigerian early-career geoscientists, to strenghten their social responsiblity in the geoscience research and practice. This is the only way to avoid in the future the Abuja tremors and possible earthquakes.


NGC1 - First Nigeria Geoethics Conference "Integrating Geoethics into the Extractive Industry Governance": 18-19 October 2018, Port Harcourt (Nigeria); 
Download the poster (pdf file):

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics